UBRC Report

Utah Birds Records Committee – Report for 2019

Kenny Frisch, Stephanie Greenwood, Mike Hearell, Dennis Shirley, Bryan Shirley, Steve Sommerfeld, Mark Stackhouse, Larry Tripp, David Wheeler,  Non-voting Members:  Milt Moody (Secretary/Webmaster), Eric Huish (Archivist), Cody Neuman (eBird Liaison)

This annual report of the Committee summarizes 47 records of 36 species submitted in 2019.  The Committee accepted 38  of these records (80.9%).  The primary reason for records being rejected by the Committee during the period covered by this report was insufficient descriptive details to eliminate similar species.  Other reasons included  lack of supporting physical evidence [photographs, audio recordings, multiple observers] and a higher level of scrutiny for a first state record

The following committee members participated in the review of the records included in this report:  Rick Fridell, Mike Schijf.   The report was compiled by Milt Moody.  Comments on species and context of the records as well as proof reading and editing was provided by Mike Schijf.

This report adds one species to the checklist of the birds of Utah. A first state record for a Great Black-backed Gull,  which was found by Brian Maxfield at Stateline Cove in Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Daggett County.  With excellent documentation including photos by Brian Maxfield and Bryant Olsen the sighting was easily accepted by the Committee, bringing the total number of species for the Utah bird list to 465.

All species evaluated by the Committee are listed by common and scientific name using the nomenclature and taxonomic order of the American Ornithological Society Checklist of North American Birds, 60th supplement, followed by  the number of the records accepted for this species in the last ten years followed by the total number of official sightings for Utah (in parenthesis). The following information is included with each record in the species section:  record number, the number of birds observed along with age and sex if known, sighting location, occurrence date, observers with the initial finder listed first, observer(s) who submitted written documentation of the record, observer(s) who submitted photographs or videos, and the final-round vote of the committee with the first number being the “accept” votes and the second number being the “not-accept” votes.  A review summary  (in parenthesis) will follow the final round vote for those records that were not unanimously accepted in the first round. Any comments about the species records as a whole will be in a final italicized paragraph at the end of the species section and comments about individual records will be in italics after that record.


The Utah Bird Records Committee would like to thank those individuals who submitted documentation of their sightings. The Committee encourages all observers to document and submit a report of unusual sightings. Multiple documentation of sightings is more valuable than a single report, since one observer may notice key field marks not reported by other observers; those field marks may contribute significantly to the value of the record. The submission of photographs and recordings of songs or calls, along with the written documentation is strongly encouraged by the Committee.



2019-36: Fulvous Whistling-Duck
by Matthew Pendleton

Fulvous Whistling-Duck  (Dendrocygna bicolor)  (1 / 4)
2019-36  6 Oct 2019 - Jackson Flat Reservoir, Kane Co., by G.Merrill Webb  (Hatch year, Photos)   2nd round: 9-0 -- (The question of this bird being an escapee was brought up but dismissed with further discussion).
   This is only the second UBRC accepted record of this species since 1959.


Mexican Duck (Anas platyrhynchos  ssp.) recently added to Review List as a subspecies
     2019-07  13 Sep 2018 - Big Cottonwood Park, Salt Lake County, by Kenny Frisch  (adult male, Photos)   2nd round:  6-1 -- (Since there were no signs of hybridization, which would be very common, the committee accepted this as a pure Mexican Duck which at present is a subspecies of Mallard according to the AOS, but may in the future be considered its own species).


Black Scoter   (Melanitta americana  (11 / 25)
2019-44  25 Oct 2019 - Huntington Lake Reservoir, Emery County, by Merrill Webb  (four adult males)   2nd round: 6-3 -- (With some problems with the written description there was some reluctance to accept this sighting, but because the sighting is consistent with past occurrences of this species and the observer is very experienced and a known quantity, the record was accepted).

     2019-38  2 Nov 2019 - Antelope Island Causeway, Davis Co., by Bryant Olsen  (Fem/imm, Photos) : 1st round: 9-0

     2019-37  3 Nov 2019 - East Canyon Reservoir, Morgan Co., by Weston Smith  (Female, Photos) : 1st round: 9-0
   2019 seemed to be an excellent year for black scoters in Utah, with reports from multiple locations in October and November.


Ruddy Ground-Dove  (Columbina talpacoti)    (0 / 1)
     2019-29  9 Sep 2019 - West Abajo Mountains, San Juan County, by Kathleen & Hal Robins (one)   2nd round: 1-8  -- (The paucity of field marks described, left a question about the ID of this bird and resulted in mixed opinions).
   With only one previous UBRC accepted record (from 1991), excellent documentation would be needed to accept additional records of this exceptionally rare species for Utah.


Chimney Swift   (Chaetura pelagica )  (2 / 2)
     2019-13  27 May 2019 - Bridge over the Green River, Jensen, Uintah County, by Nathan Pieplow  (adult, Photos)   2nd round: 7-0 -- (The photos and documentation show the field marks clearly enough to eliminate Vaux's Swift and confirm the ID).
   The only other UBRC accepted record of this species is a University of Utah specimen collected in 1912.


Wandering Tattler   (Tringa incana)  (1 / 5)

2019-25: Wandering Tattler
by Bryant Olsen

2019-01: Great Black-backed Gull
by Brian Maxfield

2019-24: Brown Pelican
by Laura Lockhart

2019-23: Zone-tailed Hawk
by Mike Schijf

     2019-25  28 Aug 2019 - Antelope Island Causeway, Davis Co., by Bryant Olsen  (one, Photos)  1st round: 8-0
   Three of the five UBRC accepted records of this species have come from Antelope Island State Park.

Red Phalarope 
Phalaropus fulicarius)  (8 /20)
2019-33  5 Oct 2019 - Lee Creek delta, Great Salt Lake, Salt Lake Co., by Bryant Olsen  (winter adult, Photos)   1st round: 9-0


Pomarine Jaeger  (Stercorarius pomarinus)  (2 / 3)
     2019-46  15 May 2011 - Antelope Island Causeway, Davis County, by David Wheeler  (one adult)   1st round: 9-0


Great Black-backed Gull  (Larus marinus)  (1 / 1) 

     2019-01  11 Jan 2019 - Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Daggett Co., by Brian Maxfield  (adult, Photos)   1st round: 9-0    First State Record
   Although a first state record for Utah, this species was previously photographed on the Wyoming side of Flaming Gorge Reservoir in both 2017 and 2018.


Least Tern  (Sternula antillarum)  (4 / 16)
2019-19  27 May 2019 - Inland Sea Shorebird Preverve, Salt Lake County, by Ian Batterman  (adult)    2nd round: 2-7  -- (The description of the bird left some room for the possibility of another species).


Red-throated Loon  (Gavia stellata)  (10 / 20)
2019-06  8 Feb 2019 - Quail Creek State Park, Washington County, by Mike Schijf  (adult, Photos)   1st round: 8-0


Brown Pelican  (Pelecanus occidentalis)  (5 / 10)
2019-03  22 Nov 2016 - Grand County, by Steve Heinrich  (one adult)   2nd round: 7-2 -- (Though the sighting was two year old and there was no photo, the description didn't leave any other possibility).
     2019-24  23 Aug 2019 - Bear River Refuge Road, Box Elder Co., by Laura Lockhart  (juv. to early adult, Photos)  1st round:  7-0


Little Blue Heron  (Egretta caerulea)   (3 / 8)
2019-09  3 May 2019 - Lytle Ranch, Washington County, by James Loveless, Terry Reid  (adult, Photos)  1st round: 9
   This is the first UBRC accepted record of this species for southern Utah.

Reddish Egret  (Egretta rufescens)  (3 / 6)
2019-34  8 Oct 2019 - Red's Lake, San Juan Co., by Glenn Kincaid  (juvenile, Photos)  1st round: 9-0


Swallow-tailed Kite  (Elanoides forficatus)   (0 / 0)  
     2019-16  14 Jun 2019 - I-15 south of Spanish Fork, ? County, by Tom Davidowicz  (one, flying)  1st round: 0-8  -- (Without a description of the tail, the documentation didn't eliminate other possible species, especially the quite common, Swainson's Hawk).


Zone-tailed Hawk  (Buteo albonotatus)  (13 / 24)

     2019-11  2 May 2019 - Forest Park, St. George, Washington County, by Holden Green  (one adult)   2nd round: 7-0
     2019-12  21 Apr 2019 - Hurricane, Washington County, by Steve Clark & Danielle Jarvis  (adult, Photos)  1st round: 9-0

     2019-20   21 Apr 2019 - Confluence Park, La Verkin, Washington County, by Jason Pietrzak   (adult)  1st round: 9-0

     2019-23  16 Aug 2019 - Pine Park, Washington County, by Mike Schijf  (2 adults, Photos)   1st round:  8-0
   Pine Park is a known location for zone-tailed hawks in Washington County.


Boreal Owl  (Aegolius funereus)  (2 / 6)
     2019-41  4 Oct 2019 - Soapstone  Basin, Wasatch County, by Kenny Frisch  (three, audio ) 1st round: 8-0
   This report of three individuals represents the highest count total documented in Utah.

     2019-22  25 Dec 2003 - Deer Valley Ski Resort, Summit County, by Joyce Tang  (one, Photos)   1st round: 7-0

Gila Woodpecker  (Melanerpes uropygialis)  (0/0)
     2019-39  7 Nov 2019 - La Verkin, Washington County, by Austin J. Adams  (adult male)   2nd round: 2-7  --  (With no photo or use of optics, the committee was hesitant to accept such an exceptional vagrant sighting as a first state record).
   Excellent documentation would be needed to accept a first state record for a species 150 miles from the closest part of its range, especially since this species is not known to exhibit patterns of vagrancy.


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  (Sphyrapicus varius)  (20 / 23)
2019-47  26 Dec 2019 - Lytle Ranch, Washington Co., by Terry Reid  (HY male, Photos)    2nd round: 9-0  --  (Some question about being a possible hybrid, sent this record to a second round where it was accepted unanimously).


2019-35: Tropical Kingbird
by Greg Sharp

2019-30: Veery
by Terry Reid

Tropical Kingbird  (Tyrannus melancholicus)   (4 / 4)
2019-35  14 Oct 2019 - Hela Seegmiller Farm, Washington Co., by Holden Green  (Hatch year, Photos)  1st round: 9-0
   All four state records of this species have come since 2012. This was the first record of this species from southern Utah.


White-eyed Vireo  (Vireo griseus)   (2 / 5)
2019-28  10 Sep 2019 - North Arm Natural Area, Eden, Weber County, by Mike Hearell  (one)   1st round: 8-0


Eastern Bluebird  (Sialia sialis)  (3 / 7) 
2019-43  14 Dec 2019 - North of Grafton, Washington Co., by Mike Schijf  (male, Photos)   1st round: 9-0
   Although only one individual was initially reported, subsequent reports of up to four individuals were well documented during the following weeks.


Veery  (Catharus fuscescens)  (2 / 13)
2019-30  11 Sep 2019 - Holladay, Salt Lake Co., by Kenny Frisch  (one, Photos)   1st round: 8-0


Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre)   (1 / 2)
     2019-15  2 Jun 2019 - Grand Staircase Inn, Cannonville, Garfield County, by Kenny Frisch  (one, audio)    2nd round: 2-7 -- (Basing an ID solely on an audio and spectrogram of a call note, was sufficient to eliminate the possibility of mimicry from another species).


Brown Thrasher  (Toxostoma rufum)  (8 / 25) 
2019-04  9 Nov 2014 - Grand County, by Steve Heinrich  (two adults)  2nd round: 8-1 -- (Though there were some concerns about a sighting without a photo that was several years old, the description from an experienced observer of a unique bird was convincing).


Bendire's Thrasher  (Toxostoma bendirei)  (0 / 9)
     2019-18  6 May 2019 - West of Browse Exit of I-5, Washington County, by Sam Wells  (one)   2nd round: 2-7 -- (The description did not quite eliminate the possibility of another species).


 Brown-capped Rosy-Finch  (Leucosticte australis)  (5 / 6)
2019-08  31 Mar 2019 - Alta, Salt Lake County, by Ian Batterman  (adult)   2nd round: 0-9-- (The possibility of a Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch was not eliminated as a possibility in this very difficult ID).

2019-40: McCown's Longspur
by Taylor Abbott


McCown's Longspur  (Rhynchophanes mccownii)  (10 / 20)

     2019-42  1 Dec 2019 - Enterprise, Washington & Iron Co., by Mike Schjf  (three, Photos)  1st round: 9 acc
   This is only the third UBRC accepted record for southern Utah, and the first since 1985.

     2019-40  28 Nov 2019 - West of Reese, Weber Co., by Mike Hearell  (male, Photos by Taylor Abbott) : 1st round: 9-0

     2019-02  8 Feb 2019 - Mosida, SR 68, Utah Co., by Suzi Holt  (one, Photos)   1st round: 9-0


Nelson's Sparrow  (Ammodramus nelsoni)  (1 / 1)
2019-26  1 Sep 2019 - Bear River MBR, Box Elder County, by Ian Batterman  (one adult)   2nd round: 0-9  -- (With a 15 second observation, to ID a very rare bird, the absence of some important field marks from the description -- like the color of the breast and a short tail -- made it difficult to eliminate the possibility of another species.


Baird's Sparrow  (Centronyx bairdii)  (0 / 1)
     2019-14  8 Jun 2019 - University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, by Kenny Frisch  (one)    2nd round: 3-6  -- (For a bird this rare, a recording of the call note, even with a pretty convincing analysis, was not quite enough to convince the committee to accept this record).


Bronzed Cowbird   (Molothrus aeneus)  (2 / 7)
     2019-45  25 Sep 2017 - Arches Nat. Park, Grand County, by Kevin O'Connor  (one male)    2nd round: 9-0  --  (With no photo and a somewhat sparse description, this record was sent to a second round for discussion and was accepted unanimously).


Prothonotary Warbler  (Protonotaria citrea)  (9 / 16)
     2019-17  20 Jun 2019 - Big Cottonwood Park, Millcreek, Salt Lake County, by Rachel LeBlanc  (adult male)  1st round: 8-0


Tennessee Warbler  (Oreothlypis peregrina)  (14 / 15)
2019-31  20 Sep 2019 - Utah Lake Parkway Trail, Saratoga Springs, Utah County, by Rachel LaBlanc  (immature)   2nd round: 9-0 -- (After some questions about the description in the first round, this record was accepted unanimously in the 2nd).

     2019-05  9 Nov 2018 - Royal Oaks Park, Washington County, by Mike Schijf  (adult, Photos)   1st round: 9-0
   This was the second individual of this species to be documented at this location in the fall of 2018.


Blackpoll Warbler  (Setophaga striata)  (8 / 19)

2019-27: Blackpoll Warbler
Cameron Cox

     2019-32  24 Sep 2019 - Tonaquint Nature Ctr., St. George, Washington Co., by Mike Schijf  (HY female?, Photos)   1st round: 9-0

     2019-27  31 Aug 2019 - Fielding Garr Ranch, Davis Co., by Max Malmquist  (HY, Photos)   1st round:  8-0


Palm Warbler  (Setophaga palmarum)  (13 / 25)
2019-21  12 Oct 2018 - Springdale, Washington County, by Jason Pietrzak  (one)  2nd round: 8-0


Painted Bunting  (Passerina versicolor)  (3 / 6)

     2019-10  11 May 2019,- Near Camp Floyd Inn, Utah County, by Ian Batterman  (female)  2nd round: 6-3  -- (Though there was some lingering doubt about this record, most thought that other possibilities were eliminated by the written description).


* The heading photo is of a Fulvous Whistling-Duck,  by Matthew Pendelton  (Record2019-36)